I know I’m supposed to be studying in Spain, but when I heard the date for the Royal Wedding I couldn’t resist being in London for the big day. Luckily, I have friends who are studying in London so I had no problem convincing them to stay in town that weekend and participate with me.
By now I’m sure that everyone has heard all the details about Kate’s dress and the carriages and why
William was wearing red while his brother wore blue, but what is brand new information is what it was like sleeping on the street.
Although it was the end of April, London did not warm up all that much in honor of the wedding, at least not until after the wedding. Amidst all the bunting, flags, and general tacky wedding paraphernalia, there we were, five girls freezing under one sleeping bag. It sounds like the beginning of a cheesy thriller novel, I know, but it
wasn’t. It’s not as though we were sleeping by ourselves in the middle of the sidewalk by St. James’ Park. We were surrounded by other, like-minded (aka crazy) people who wanted to catch a glimpse of the royalty from our generation. In fact, since we spent almost 15 hours surrounded by the same people we got to know them really well.
We shared food, swapped blankets, went on coffee runs, and entertained each other. In the middle of the night, when I thought I was going to freeze to death, my girlfriends and I decided to read a rather poorly written romance novel out-loud to keep our minds off the wind. Never mind the fact that it was 3 am and there were no lights on aside from the street lamps, which would light the Royal Mall any day of the year.
However we decided to read anyway–we have young eyes–and as it turns out, we were not only entertaining ourselves, but also the rest of our neighbors who couldn’t sleep from the cold either. Not only did we end up having a, surprisingly, wonderful time, but we also got to be in the first line up against the fencing when the procession went by, in both directions. It was almost as if we were the people they were waving at specifically.
Of course people say that this was merely a demonstration by an antiquated dynasty that have no merit in today’s society, but my answer is, so what? I honestly have no opinion on the royal family one way or the other. Perhaps that’s because I have an Americanized sensibility of politics or because I never really studied English history beyond the Tudors, but regardless of politics, it was beautiful ceremony and in light of everything else that has been the in the news recently, it was so much fun to simply be able to smile and wish people all the happiness in the world.
Yes, I was freezing and miserable sleeping on the street for the night, but I also now have a greater appreciation for those people who sleep on the street every night. The Royal Wedding taught me so much more about myself than just a reaffirmation that I am a hopeless romantic and I think Sarah Burton (for Alexander McQueen) is a fantastic designer. Sleeping on the street re-taught me the importance of camaraderie and support for those around us and I think that is the real message that Will and Kate were trying to get across as they got married in front of 2 billion people world-wide.